Transforming Communities

Ainsley Hamill & Toby Shaer

Vocals, Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar

Ainsley Hamill, Toby Shaer
South East


Ainsley and Toby are a newly formed duo merging folk songs with self-penned material, both in English and Scottish Gaelic. Ainsley is a member of the critically acclaimed folk band, Barluath (, as well as performing her own material, merging folk and jazz genres. Toby, along with his own projects involving similar styles, is a renowned multi-instrumentalist playing alongside individuals such as John McCusker and Cara Dillon. His instruments include guitar, cittern, flute, whistles and uilleann pipes. The duo have also performed extensively within other bands such as The Unusaul Suspects and Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys, delighting many audiences in Britain and abroad with their varied repertoire inspired by their diverse musical backgrounds.

Ainsley Hamill is an experienced Scottish songwriter and singer and is quickly becoming one of the UK’s leading and most diverse folk singers, after various nominations at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. Much of her own material is performed with touring band ‘Barluath’ and solo. Ainsley’s love of Gaelic song was nurtured whilst studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she obtained a First Class Honour’s Degree in Scottish Music, with Gaelic Song as her Principal Study. There she met her fellow band mates and Barluath was formed. In recent years, the band has recorded two studio albums, ‘Source’ and ‘At Dawn of Day’, along with touring extensively in Britain and abroad.

Ainsley was named as a BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Finalist in 2014/15 and was recently nominated for Gaelic Singer of the Year and Best Up and Coming Group (Barluath) at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. She has appeared at major folk festivals such as The Festival Interceltique de Lorient, and Celtic Connections since 2010, along with many others in Britain and abroad, with Barluath and The Unusual Suspects, whilst touring extensively in Germany and Denmark with Barluath. Ainsley has been a member of Live Music Now Scotland since 2014, performing as a duo with pianist Alistair Paterson, and the five-piece folk band Barluath.

Toby Shaer is an up and coming folk musician from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. He is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer who has worked and shared stages with some of the finest musicians in the folk/country music scenes.

He started to play music from an early age, picking up flutes and whistles at the age of 7 and fiddle when 12 years old. He began his first band at the age of 14 fusing Irish tunes with Jazz, Rock, Reggae etc. The Toby Shaer band continues to gig with a long list of different resident and session musicians. He has worked with several bands over the years, the most recent being renown Scottish fiddler John McCusker on his 25th Anniversary Tour and BBC Horizon award winner 2016 Sam Kelly with this band The Lost Boys.

Despite his age, Toby has already performed around the world at some of the most prestigious venues, including The Sydney Opera House, The Kennedy Centre and The Royal Albert Hall. He has also performed with numerous musicians from a wide variety of musical backgrounds from celebrated Scottish Hero Dougie Maclean to outstanding Blur guitarist Graham Coxon. His future projects include his first solo album, concert and festival dates with Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys throughout 2018 and new projects with KerryPro Whistle maker Phil Hardy, fellow Lost Boy Ciaran Algar and genius Scottish songwriter Adam Holmes.

Folk Duo (Gaelic/Celtic)